THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR ON CANCER
By Devra Davis
1. Avoid smoking, overeating, and
overdrinking, and keep moving. Take the stairs instead
of elevators; find a form of exercise you like and commit
to doing it with a friend. Plan to walk instead of drive.
When driving, stick to the speed limit to save lives, save
energy and reduce cancer-causing pollution; speed kills, pollutes
and fuels terror.
2. Use x-rays and other radiation
sparingly and keep a record of all x-rays. The excessive
use of x-rays in infants and children may be one of the reasons
more young people (those under 40 years of age) are getting
cancer and can also contribute to cancer in adults. Earlier
this year, the American College of Radiology advised against
unnecessary and excessive use of diagnostic radiation in children
for this very reason. Before ordering x-rays, doctors should
carefully weigh the risks and benefits of using MRI, or ultrasound,
technologies that do not involve radiation.
3. Unless someone in your immediate
family has had breast cancer before menopause, hold off getting
your first mammogram until at least age forty, or
until your doctor advises you to start having them-and then
to have them done sparingly. Mammography does not prevent
breast cancer, but can reduce deaths for the disease in post-menopausal
women. It is also important to have regular physical exam
of breasts by a health professional.
4. Use hormones sparingly. Lifetime use
of hormones affects cancer risk. Consider alternatives to
chemical contraception such as IUDs and condoms (which also
protect against sexually transmitted disease) Avoid long term
use of medications that contain hormones, including hormone
5. Test your basement for radon and if you live in
an area with uncertain water quality, use a simple filter.
An invisible gas, radon can seep into homes from the ground
and increase the risk of lung cancer. It can easily and inexpensively
6. Do not consume food and beverages that contain
aspartame. Sweeten your food with good old-fashioned
sugar or honey, or stevia instead. Despite having FDA approval,
aspartame, the sugar substitute, was never given a green light
by scientists—a; were concerned about its potential
to cause cancer. New independent studies raise further concerns
about its long term safety.
7. Use cell phones with an earpiece and speakerphone
so the phone itself is not held up against your head.
Children should not use cell phones. Studies claiming that
there is no link between cell phone use and brain cancer were
no conducted on people who used Cell phones as much as the
average person today. Cell phone emit low doses of microwave
radiation that destroy rat brain cells and memory and reach
one inch into the human brain. While British authorities recommend
that children do not use cell phones at all, some American
firms are pushing the phones for five year olds.
8. Buy local foods in season from farmers who use
fewer pesticides. Use omega-3-fatty acid supplements
free of pollutants and eat a diverse diet, rich in vitamin
D, calcium and fiber.
9. Don’t put anything on your baby’s
skin that you can’t eat. The materials that
create “no more tears” in baby shampoo are banned
in several countries, because they cause cancer in animals.
In some cases lotions used on the heads of African-American
babies caused development of breasts and pubic hear. The FDA
has no authority to regulate any of these harmful compounds
in personal care products, unlike the European Union.
10. Look under your sink and read the labels on your
cleaning products—in general the fewer ingredients they
have, the better for you they are. Baking soda, vinegar,
lemon juice, and toothpaste can be used to clean most things
around the home. Some room deodorizers and mothballs contain
11. Don’t microwave anything in plastic, no
matter what the directions say. Some plastic chemicals
can leach into food.
12. Unlike nearly all industrial nations
of the world, America and Canada have not banned asbestos.
Before doing home renovations and repair of attics,
roofing and ceiling and flooring tiles, find out if they contain
asbestos and hire certified contractors if they do.
Zonolite attic insulation and some forms of kitty liter contain
asbestos-related materials. Half of all people with a rare
form of cancer thought to be uniquely tied with asbestos called
mesothelioma have no known workplace contact with asbestos.